Morpheus Lander Completes Last Free Flight Test

By  //  May 29, 2014

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lander test lasted 98-seconds

ABOVE VIDEO: The Morpheus/ALHAT team successfully completed Free Flight 14 (FF14) at the KSC SLF on May 28, Bravo’s 12th and ALHAT’s 5th free flight and the first ever night flight.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — The first free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander at night was conducted May 28 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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The first free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander at night was conducted May 28 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Morpheus Image)

The 98-second test began at 10:02 p.m. with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet.

The vehicle, with its autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) sensors, surveyed the hazard field to determine safe landing sites.

MORPHEUS-180“Project Morpheus is a NASA project to develop a vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) test vehicle called Morpheus Lander in order to demonstrate a new nontoxic spacecraft propellant system (methane and oxygen) and an autonomous landing and hazard detection technology. The prototype planetary lander is capable of vertical takeoff and landings. The vehicles are NASA designed robotic landers that will be able to land and take off with 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of cargo on the Moon. The prospect is an engine that runs reliably on propellants that are not only cheaper and safer here on Earth, but could also be potentially manufactured on the Moon or even Mars.”

Morpheus then flew forward and downward covering approximately 1,300 feet while performing a 78-foot divert to simulate a hazard avoidance maneuver. The lander then descended and landed on a dedicated pad inside the test field.


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